There have been disputes amongst and within clans for centuries. We are aware that some still exist today. We also know that all Macfarlanes and all who appreciate Ellan Vhow are squarely in favor of properly supervised efforts to preserve and protect it. To that end, we have formed a separate, independent non-profit organization as a focal point for support of preservation works there. We will welcome all support. All those who we have been able to contact so far have been very supportive and we are very grateful for that support. We will continue to reach out to others who have an interest in EllanVhow and know that we can count on their full support as well.
We are trying this week to submit an initial article to the three Macfarlane societies that we are aware of ... to begin to make others aware of the project and of how it came about. Of course, our hope to is build support for basic preservation works on the island. Ellan Vhow is a very special place and it is important to "preserve" it for this and future generations.
"Preserve" is an important word. It states that the goal is not to change EllanVhow, but to maintain it against the natural forces of decay so that its natural beauty and its history can be enjoyed. Our focus will initially be on managing the particular trees and foliage that threaten the historic buildings.
Our first work came as a result of a photographic archaeological study of the island this summer. There is one natural entrance to the interior of the island and a fallen tree was blocking that entrance. This was diverting the heavy summer visitor traffic across the east wall of one of the outbuildings and it was already showing damage in June. Given the urgency, we were able to get a Scheduled Monument Consent from Historic Scotland in record time to remove that fallen tree. It was removed by a licensed tree surgeon in August under the supervision of Historic Scotland and three local archaeologists. The trip was sponsored by the directors of this organization.
We will strive to ensure that all works will meet with and will be advised by Historic Scotland standards and that works will be supervised by archaeologists where appropriate.
Those of you who have visited the island know that there is an intact cellar or "dungeon" as it is called locally. A mature Ulmus Glabra (Scots Elm) tree sits just north of the dungeon entrance and is threatening the struture. Ivy has overtaken the castle itself and saplings grow from the walls and wallheads. After discussing with Historic Scotland on site, we are proposing to coppice the Scots Elm tree and to cut back the ivy on the castle walls. Our proposal is to work with Liam MacKenzie (the tree surgeon who helped us in August) under the supervision of Fiona Baker, Director of Firat Archaeological Services.
We are now in the process of writing up the archaeological results of the June survey and seeking approvals for the proposed works mentioned above. Longer term, in discussion with Historic Scotland, we may propose more permanent removal of the ivy as well as masonry work to preserve the castle walls. It will be important to do a proper, full archaeolgoical survey of the site as soon as reasonably possible.
More to follow! Loch Sloy!